Paris, France – Not so Baby Friendly!

3 Reasons Paris is NOT so Baby Friendly

On our most recent trip to Europe we spent four days exploring Paris. We’ve been to Paris before and we love the city, particularity its delicious food, rich coffee and beautiful architecture. Because of this, we decided to make another trip to Paris while we were in the neighbourhood.

But, what we failed to notice on previous trips was that Paris is not very baby friendly (likely due to the fact that we didn’t have a baby at the time!).

Don’t get us wrong. We’re NOT saying that if you have a baby you shouldn’t go to Paris. Quite the opposite. We think everyone should visit Paris – at least once in their life.

However, if you are planning a trip to Paris with a baby, here are a few things you should know.

1) The Metro is not stroller friendly

The Paris Métro, a.k.a. the Métropolitain, is one of the densest Metro networks in the world. The first time we visited the city, we took the Metro everywhere. It was the most efficient and cost effective way to see the sites.

On this recent trip, we assumed much of the same – we would take Baby B on the Metro. No brainer – right?

Wrong. It didn’t take long to realize it was going to be difficult getting in and out of the stations with our baby stroller. Very few Metro stations had elevators and if they did they were rarely working, so we had to lug the stroller up and down several flights of stairs.

Tip #1: Bring a baby carrier for the Metro – ditch the stroller

The stairs were difficult enough (sometimes 50+ stairs), but the most annoying part of the process was passing through the turn styles. Often they weren’t big enough for a stroller, so we needed to unpack the stroller, fold it up and carry it through. This is no easy task with a squirmy baby and his baby travel gear. And if they did have a turn style big enough to fit a stroller, we needed to be buzzed through by an attendant that clearly hates his job. At one point, Baby B was actually stuck on the opposite side of the turn style – with us on the wrong side and no way to get to him! The whole process was ridiculous.

After the second day, we ditched the stroller and used our Ergo Baby Carrier instead.

2) Most restaurants do not offer high chairs

In North America, it’s common for all restaurants to offer high chairs to families. In Paris, we only managed to find a high chair once. We ate in a number of restaurants in different parts of the city, and each time we asked for a high chair we were told they didn’t have one.

Tip #2: Bring a portable high chair – you’ll need it

Most times we kept Baby B in his stroller, but other times (when we ditched the stroller because we knew we’d be using the Metro) it was extremely handy to have our My Little Seat Infant Travel High Chair. It folds up small, fits in a diaper bag and works on almost all chairs.

It was a life saver in Paris.

 

3) Hotel rooms are very small – pack light

Traditionally, hotels rooms in Europe are small, at least when compared to North American hotels. But in Paris, they are extremely small. Add a crib to the mix and there is literally no room to move, let alone space for baby to crawl around and stretch his legs.

We spent a long time searching before deciding on our Paris accommodations. We booked a triple room with hopes that it would provide more space for a crib. We did manage to get the crib in the room but just barely! And it took some rearranging to fit our luggage in the room and we had to leave our stroller and car seat in the hallway!

Tip #3: After booking, call the hotel and request a crib and a larger room. Hotels will usually accommodate if they know you’re traveling with an infant. 

 

Paris is a fabulous city, worthy of every European itinerary. But if you are traveling with a baby, make sure you bring a baby carrier, a portable high chair, and try to find a hotel within your budget that offers larger rooms with cribs.

It will certainly take away some of the stress that comes with baby travel.

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Have you traveled to Paris with an infant? Do you have any travel tips or advice?
Share your experience and feedback in the comments section below!

 

 

19 Responses to “Paris, France – Not so Baby Friendly!”

  • I must suggest everyone to take baby carriers along with you while travelling and staying in big cities like Paris etc… It reduces your safety tension towards your baby and also helps you to enjoy more and more with out being disturbed.

  • hedy

    Also be careful that baby and stroller are not wiped out by the many cars that do not stop on for a green light and and the others that wipe around corners at high speed on green lights.

  • We’re going to Paris next month, and we figured it would be quite a hassle to be in a hotel room with our 8 month old baby (whenever he’s sleeping we wouldn’t be able to do anything) so we’re renting an apartment that’s actually less expensive than a hotel room. Also, we’ve heard buses are the way to go with a stroller in Paris, although last time we were there we walked everywhere so that’s what we’ll do again (especially since our apartment is in a great area in the middle of everything). Thanks for the tip about the high chairs!

  • Hi,
    Thanks a lot for your post. We are planning to visit Paris beginning of November with our 9 month old and are apprehensive about the ‘baby factor’. Managed to book restaurants who promised baby high chairs. Travelling in the metro or RER may be a worry.
    Best Wishes,
    Suhas

  • Hey! stumbled upon your blog and love it! we did 15 cities in 6 countries during the Little Monkey’s first year on planet earth and Paris was one of our stops. She was only 2 months old so it was easy lugging her around in the baby carrier and didn’t need a highchair but I do remember seeing lots of older kids about, not as many babies though!

    http://www.babyandlife.com/eating-my-way-through-pairs/

    Looking forward to swapping travel adventures and tips!
    yash recently posted..Good Tidings To AllMy Profile

  • I’m sorry Paris didn’t work out so well. We have a toddler and he has been twice (we live in Missouri) and they were both great experiences. I guess part of that is luck, good weather, etc.

    We travel a lot and have learned to ditch the stroller ;) so that is good advice. Anyway hope you give Paris another try!
    Adam Sommer recently posted..2012: My Favorite PostsMy Profile

  • We did a 3 week road trip in France w/ 5 and 7 y/olds last summer. Hotel Brighton http://www.paris-hotel-brighton.com/en/, across the street from the Louvre, has huge rooms – even compared to US. Rooms do vary but 20ft ceilings, with a bed and pullout still room for the 4 person table and desk. Separate shower and bathtub in large bathroom. Mid-range pricing. Also, if going to Versailles – rent the golf cart or take the little train – it’s too much walking for little (and big) feet when it’s hot.

  • We had a Maclaren stroller that was ok to get through the turnstiles but I agree a baby carrier is a much better option for many big cities around the world. And we stayed in an apartment rather than a hotel room when we visited Paris with our little one – everyone got more sleep :)
    Natasha von Geldern recently posted..Paradise Found: The other side of BaliMy Profile

  • I can tell.. how locals manage with kids as …I am a Parisian mum of 2…. and no, Parisian parents do not all leave Paris when they have kids (or we move to the suburb to get larger homes but still close to Paris) !
    1. Metro: we try to avoid it as much as possible and we take the bus ! most buses now have their own pathes in Paris, you can enjoy the view and there is a dedicated space for strollers in the bus.
    If you want to take the metro, you’ll need to have a …MacLaren stroller …this is one of the rare model that can go through the turn styles. (but you’ll see that there are almost no strollers in the metro !). For the stairs, be ready to carry stroller + kid, ask for help if needed.
    2. Restaurants: you’re right…almost no highchairs in Paris. This is hopefully improving from year to year (search for baby friendly places in Paris to find them, few guides and blogs are referencing them). Parisian parents continue to go to restaurant with baby in the stroller next to their table. A portable seat is also definitively a good option.
    3. Hotel: call or email the hotel when booking, most of them can help if you tell them you’re arriving with your little one.

    In the countries I’ve visited USA is a good place together with Germany for been baby friendly. Hope this will help you to come visit us in Paris (don’t be affraid, Parisian continues to live and go out with kids !) and sorry for this long comment…

    • Ckp

      What about Fancy Resturants? Do you suggest taking a baby 5months to a nice place? I plan to go when my daughter is 5 months old….. I have been too paris for months at a time prior to having a baby so this will be a new experience. I will likely only eat out during lunch hours because it tends to be lease crowded with people.

  • I’m actually doing up a post about a similar topic right now… amazing how NON-handicap friendly all of Europe is.
    Michael Hodson recently posted..ULTIMATE TRAIN CHALLENGE 2012My Profile

  • Perhaps the locals don’t have babies or pawn them off on the grandparents whenever they want to go anywhere :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..20 months, 1000s of photos… Help pick my prints!My Profile

  • Oh god… how do people who live in Paris with kids manage?
    Jade – OurOyster.com recently posted..Canada – What To Do In Montreal In WinterMy Profile

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